About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a spider enthusiast and amateur arachnologist.

This blog is for aboriginal dog enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah Dog) and INDog-mixes (Indies) are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive landrace village dog of the Indian subcontinent. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too. Also see padsociety.org

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kimaya has a mood swing, or two

Hello, we are back!

And sorry for our loooong absence from this blog! It's inexcusable but I have two excuses anyway. I've had to work quite a lot on my other blog (about tiger conservation). And of course the Facebook INDog page swallows up a LOT of the time I have left.

There are many Indy beauties from FB that I have to introduce here; but first a longish update about us. It's a bit of a homily on canine loyalty as well, so skip the text if you don't like that sort of thing! But don't skip the pictures, they're quite nice!

It's actually about our human ideas about canine loyalty. We had this phase in our lives when Kimaya became disloyal to her former best friend. I meant to post this long ago but wasn't sure how to write about it without letting some very human disapproval show through.

The former best friend is of course our beautiful Brownie, of whom much has been written in this blog. 

I've mentioned before that Brownie decided to change his residence sometime last year. He was always friendly with these two dogs belonging to a bungalow near ours. The owner lives in Nagaon most of the year.

Brownie used to visit them quite often and one day he decided to start living there, instead of with Mr Athavale, his original owner. 

He still drops by at the Athavales sometimes, but it's no longer his principal home. 

I'm very happy for him. His new home is perfect. There are at least seven canine members, and that's just what Brownie likes - lots of doggy company.

But...this created a rift with his former best friend Kimaya. 

Kimaya is petrified of Brownie's friends. They've never tried to harm her, but she's scared of them anyway. She's scared of all pet dogs. 

Last October the fluffy one ran up to her and tried to make friends. Well to be honest he wanted to check whether she was neutered or not, but he didn't threaten her or touch her at all. Their family servant grabbed him and took him away. 

Kimaya took it badly. After that she didn't want to come to the beach at all for the next few months. If she saw these dogs even from a distance, she'd try to run back home. 

On another occasion an ownerless brindled dog growled and snarled at her, and that was the last straw. Our beach walks stopped altogether. 

I dragged her out on a leash a few times, but she was obviously so terrified I gave up. We would just sit on the steps for a while, but even from that safe place, the sight of Brownie's new family far away would scare her and she'd want to go home.

Kimaya can be a little dim-witted sometimes, specially when under stress. She associated her poor old friend with all these scary experiences. She didn't want to play with him any more. Look at her in these pictures, just wanting to go home and refusing to interact with Brownie.

Brownie understood the problem and explained to his friends that they shouldn't come anywhere near Kimaya. I don't know how he did it but he did. So we'd find him and his friends romping on the beach, and he'd come and join us and his friends would quietly turn around and go home. I'm not exaggerating at all. This is exactly how it happened.

You'd have thought the rift would have healed at this point. But then - along came Kiba.

Kimaya completely shifted her loyalty to Kiba. This is probably very moral from a dog's viewpoint. When Brownie came over for dinner, she'd stand between him and Kibby and bark loudly to protect the puppy. I was quite proud of her. But then she started growling at Brownie and clearly discouraging him from coming to the house. That's when we humans (specially the husband) started thinking her a bit nasty. And disloyal. After all Brownie had taken such good care of her the two years she lived in Nagaon. 

Finally poor Brownie just stopped coming back with us from the beach. He'd come and say hello to us, try unsuccessfully to play with Kimaya, and then trot back to his own family. I was convinced he had a sad expression.

That hurt. I knew Brownie before Kimaya was born. He's very much part of our lives in Nagaon. 

Thankfully, once we started taking Kiba to the beach (in May) things began to sort themselves out. 

Kiba is no longer an idiotic blundering puppy. He knows how to interact with other dogs now. He made a few attempts to bully Brownie's younger family members. Luckily there was enough space for him to run away when they retaliated. And luckily he runs quite fast.

Kimaya would still growl at Brownie occasionally, but that lessened over time. On our last trip she was actually glad to see him. He came home for lunch one day, and dinner another day. 

He and Kiba won't ever be friends, because they're both the bossy type. But that's okay. At least he and Kimaya are friends again.


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Lubna said...

Ah, a happy ending. Now this, I like.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Me too! Kimaya used to adore Brownie and we were quite upset with their falling out. Kiran hugged Brownie and told him 'these women are all like that'!!

georgia little pea said...

Welcome back! And thank you for dropping by. It was such a wonderful surprise. Ive been wondering where you were. A lot of bloggers I follow are taking a break, have reduced their posting or stopped altogether. Pinterest, twitter and Facebook have a lot to do with it I'm sure ;)

I LOVE your story, it was absolutely riveting! I've long wanted to do a story like that about Georgia, who changes best friends like we change underwear, but found it too complicated to even write about. Do dogs have a different understanding of friendship and loyalty, you think? Brownie is certainly loyal to Kimaya, though it's odd that he changed families! I guess their social interactions are not as simple as we think. Great observations. And love the pictures too! X

carazy. said...

Great narration, Rajashree. Loved reading about how Brownie explained to his new family to back off.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thanks Cara and GLP's human :) There's a lot that is strange about Brownie and his communication with other dogs - for instance he can go anywhere and doesn't get attacked, and all other dogs bow and scrape before him :) I think he left the Athavales because there are more dogs at his new place!

You're right GLP's h, about FB having a lot to do with it. I don't really like FB but it's great for promoting causes so I'm stuck with it. I have been dropping by on GLP though!

Minna said...

The part of dragging her out on a leash sounds familiar, although our Roshni isn't scared of other dogs - it's the humans and traffic that makes her hugely nervous to go out. So we accommodate her by taking her out when there are less or no humans about, just the two friendly neighbourhood dogs and the occasional cow. Tbh, Roshni doesn't much care for the dogs and doesn't interact much, it's more of a "I have no choice but to tolerate them" kind of thing with her it seems. Also she seems a bit upset whenever she's taken in and either of us goes back out to give the two scritchies and snacks =P